There are a billion little secrets the old timers use that make beekeeing easier. This thread is to give them a chance to share that secret knowledge. Its the things they do without even thinking about it that make the new beekeepers go "Ah, why didn't I think of that" So I will lead off with the few that I know:
1. When using telescoping covers, flip it over and set it on the ground upside down and set the first box you remove diagonally on it. It wont crush as many bees and won't get dirt, grass etc on the bottom of the box and frames
2. When picking the box off the inverted lid, put your foot on the lid to easily seperate the box from the lid.
3. For whole hive inspections, remove all but the bottom box to your "stack". Inspect the bottom box first, then inpsect the top box on your stack. Ths lets the bees fly back to the bottom box, after you are done with each box, place it back in its original position and inspect the next one. This also does not allow the queen to run away into another box while you are looking for her.
4. Carry multiple hive tools. after you crush a certain amount of bees with one, it is covered with alarm pheremone and just incites a riot.
5. Slide frames back in by sliding the endbars against the adjoining frame instead of placing the frame in boax and sliding it against the adjoining frame. Crush less bees this way
6. take one frame out from the edge and lean it against the hive, then after you inspect the next frame, move it to the previous frames position. Once you have inspected all of them, place the frame leaning against the hive in the position of the last frame inspected, it will now be on the opposite side of the hive, but you will not have to move the frames again.
7. Look for eggs and uncapped larva instead of wasting time trying to find the queen.
8. Once you see eggs, you can stop looking for the queen.
9. The faster you need to carry out inspections the more protective gear you will need.
10. The more intrusive you are into the bood nest, the more defensive the bees become, don't go there unless you need too.
11. Learn to light your smoker (I use a charcol lighter, lite the fuel at teh bottom, get it flaming and add more fuel. Puff the smoker the entire time you are adding fuel) If you get enough "coals" built up, it will stay lit.
12. Plug the smoke hole up when done for the day, it snuffs the smoker and conserves fuel.
I am sure the veterans out there have many many more that are much better, please share!